Why Blogging is Essential for Aspiring Journalists

Blogging has become an important part in most journalist’s lives. It is an easy and accessible way of reaching anybody with an Internet connection. Journalists argue that blogging is the most important skill to acquire during their training. In fact, in 2008, 95% of the top 100 newspapers in the United States had reporters that blogged.

Sue Greenwood, who specializes in web-based and entrepreneurial journalism, thinks that blogging is essential to a journalist’s training. She explains how blogging is the best way for journalism students to learn about targeting the correct audience.  “I use blogging to demonstrate being responsible for your audience; how to find, enthral, and grow your audience,” she writes. “In the four years I’ve been using blogging as a teaching tool, I haven’t found a more effective way to show would-be journalists that the point of writing a story (or making a video) is that someone who cares about the subject will read it.”

In the same vein, Adam Westbrook explains in his blog that journalism students have no reason to not get involved in blogging. Getting used to writing about a specific subject, he says, can really help boost a student’s career by giving them visibility and expertise that will help find a job right after journalism school. “It takes at least 18 months of awesome content to really build a following and reputation so use your student time to do that,” he writes.

Martin Bryant echoes these thoughts in his blog about the importance of blogging for aspiring journalists. Quoting Paul Bradshaw, Professor at Birmingham University, he writes: “I think students entering the marketplace who have never run their own news website are at an increasing disadvantage. Pretty much every employer I talk to says that they would ask serious questions about why an applicant was not already doing their journalism on some sort of online platform. There’s also a new opportunity for students to build assets – a URL, a network, a reputation – that employers will be looking for.”

Blogging, he continues, is really about self-made experience. By quoting fellow blogger Joseph Stashko, Bryant explains in his blog how maintaining a website can be as efficient as working as an intern in a local newspaper. It “allows you to do arguably more than you’d ever do in a newspaper office because you can be more experimental and have a free choice about what you cover. It also gives you a sense about what people care about on a local level – something that may not be important to you might be a burning community issue, so it teaches you basic news values.”

Finally, blogging helps give young journalists a reputation. This reputation creates credibility that leads to more job opportunities after journalism school. It helps aspiring reporters develop a network of contacts and gives them skills and tools that will be valuable in the future. Blogger Michael Poh explains how maintaining a personal website helps practice different aspects of written journalism such as clarity, objectivity and fact checking.

3 Blogs for Journalism Students to Follow

1. Advancing the story is a blog that provides tips and tricks about multimedia and journalism.

2. Craig Silverman’s is a journalist from Montreal who maintains a blog that discusses news and media in general.

3. This blog maintained by the New York Times provides daily quizzes with 5 questions about current events.

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